Critical Play: Puzzles

Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a beautiful iOS game created by ustwo studios. The objective of the game is to lead Princess Ida to her destination through solving the puzzle of how to get her there. Perhaps, what is most stunning about the game is how the puzzle and the atmosphere and art intersect. The puzzle isn’t a step along the way (like in some escape rooms) but rather it is the game. Additionally, I appreciated how optical illusions were utilized so smartly and effectively in this game. Depth perception and angles are all distorted. The world also takes on its own physics where gravity is ignored. There is some sense of narrative in the game, and I think it helped the game expand being just a puzzle, attracting a wider range of players. Overall, while I enjoyed this game at first, it got a bit boring for me. The puzzles oftentimes felt either too hard or too easy but not in between. Sometimes, the solution felt unintuitive or something I didn’t understand. While I enjoyed everything else about the game, I believe the underlying mechanics of the game through puzzle could have been improved.

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